The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"I'm definitely not your typical cleanup hitter, that's for sure."
-- Cardinals rookie outfielder Nick Stavinoha, on hitting in the cleanup spot despite only two career RBI before Wednesday.
Cardinals 3, Brewers 2
Talk about the right gut move. Despite just 90 career at-bats for Nick Stavinoha, longtime Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa tapped the rookie to bat cleanup. That paid off, big time, with the 27-year-old scoring St. Louis' go-ahead run in the sixth inning, earning a fifth win of the season for Todd Wellemeyer, who was picked up by five pitchers out of the bullpen, a quintet that combined to shut out the Brewers after Wellemeyer left in the sixth inning.
Cubs 5, Pirates 2
At long last, the Cubs may finally be getting back on track, and it may have taken the team's ace impersonating it's manager to set things right. Carlos Zambrano was ejected for arguing with umpire Mark Carlson -- he actually made contact with Carlson, which could earn him a suspension -- in the seventh inning of a 2-2 tie. An inning later, Chicago put up three runs on Pittsburgh in the bottom of the eighth, earning its second-straight win when it desperately needed some good momentum. That kept Pittsburgh starter Zach Duke -- who else -- from getting a decision despite an efficient seven innings of two-run baseball.
Dodgers 8, Rockies 6
L.A. keeps rolling and Colorado keeps reeling. No matter who it is, someone in the Dodgers' lineup seems to keep filling in for the abdicated slugger shoes of suspended Manny Ramirez. On Wednesday afternoon it was Juan Pierre and veteran infield fill-in Mark Loretta sparking a seventh-inning rally that set up the Dodgers' three-game sweep in Colorado. That got a win for youngster Clayton Kershaw, who gave up three runs in six innings then watched three consecutive relievers -- including power closer Jonathan Broxton -- let in a Rockies run. Hey, even baseball's hottest team isn't perfect.
Reds 6, Astros 1
Cincinnati really has something. Whether the Reds make a legitimate playoff push or not, it's clear that the Reds have identified a core of young pitching talent, augmented it with a pair of veterans -- Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, who won his seventh game of the season Wednesday night -- and found a cadre of sluggers who give them a chance to score runs in a bandbox of a home ballpark every night. Jay Bruce was the big stick last night, knocking out two homers to provide enough offense himself to top Houston. The 13th and 14th homers of Bruce's season offered shades of a guy who now plays over at Navy Yard, though his .241 average shows some of the shortcomings of Adam Dunn's plate approach, too.
Marlins 6, Phillies 2
The Figthins put together a furious rally in the bottom of the ninth, but they couldn't convert on a bases-loaded scenario in the final frame, getting a win for young pitcher Burke Badenhop over Phillies starter Brett Myers. Badenhop held the potent Phillies lineup to a single run across five innings on a day in which Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel actually begged the team's fans to boo more. Really. Can't make that stuff up.
Mets 7, Nationals 4
The Mets have been involved in more video replay moments than ever before in the past week. Amazingly, they've all gone their way. That was the case again on Wednesday night, with a huge New York homer in the bottom of the sixth allowed despite a controversial video replay. That made a loser of Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed five runs across five innings, though he and his teammates may still adamantly argue that the final two shouldn't count. Oh, and as if the Nats needed more bad news, there's that whole steroids investigation in Florida going on. Really, it's starting to get absurd.
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